Friendship,  Marriage

We Need More Spotters

 To insure that we make choices that  are in keeping with God’s will, we all  need a spotter or two.

“We need more spotters!” I called to the girls on my cheerleading squad. We were attempting to build a new mount, one where the girl on the top of the pyramid would be tossed into the air before being caught in the arms of two of her teammates standing on the ground. Before making that dismount, however, she had to successfully get to the top of the mount.

So I called for more spotters. A spotter is someone on the ground who stands ready, arms outstretched, to assist the gal on top should she start to wobble. If she does, the spotter reaches up and holds her ankles to steady her and keep her on course. The spotters on the ground are essential to the success of the mount. They can make or break the landing. They can prevent falls and ultimately injuries.

The sideline of a football game isn’t the only place where we need spotters. We need them in our lives as Christians as well. We must surround ourselves with those who will look out for our good, with arms outstretched, ready to steady us should we begin to falter.

Sadly, over the twenty-seven years we have been married, my husband and I have witnessed the failure of half a dozen marriages of friends, fellow church members and even some in our extended family. Looking back, there were warning signs that some of these people were beginning to wobble; to flirt with the world and to invite trouble, and ultimately infidelity, into their lives. This left us pondering the question, “Could we have done something to help?” We also contemplate, “What can we do as a couple to prevent something like this from happening in our own marriage?”

In my happily-ever-after way of thinking, I used to surmise that Christians never had affairs or divorced. Unfortunately, we have discovered that there are genuine, godly believers who are victims of divorce. They meant their marriage vows and intended to keep them “til death” but were joined to a partner that decided to forsake their vows. Sometimes their spouse’s double life was discovered. Maybe abuse was part of the picture, leaving them with no other option than to leave.

While this has sometimes been the case, more often that not what we have witnessed is this: middle age marriages where one partner lets down their guard and allows a casual acquaintance to crescendo into a full blown affair. Many of these marriages were ones that we thought were going along quite nicely. Happy kids. Beautiful home. Positions on the PTO or church board. Why three of them were from our own marriage accountability group we led a few years ago! What on earth happened? In part…..

They had no spotters.

The unfaithful partners in each of these cases were islands unto themselves. Yes they attended church. They looked and acted like fine, faithful husbands or wives. But they made a chain of decisions unchallenged by others that landed them in the arms, and eventually the beds, of someone who was not their spouse. Then the horrible aftermath of the divorce took its devastating toll on those all around them.

While many say that divorce is only the business of the two parties involved, my husband and I look at it differently. We have told our kids that it is like the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima during WWII. While it was aimed only at the target in the crosshairs in the scope, lives for miles around were affected by its dropping. These affairs and resulting divorces have shattered the lives of their children and have saddened neighbors, extended families, and coworkers. And these splits have left other kids, watching from a distance, wondering if their own parents will call it quits too.

Looking back at a couple of these situations, my husband and I can remember times when we felt a check in our spirit about the behavior of some of these people. We were uncomfortable by the attention they gave to a member of the opposite sex or by their seemed obsession with someone in a committee situation. We even spotted a few out in public with someone who was not their spouse, but chose to say nothing. Looking back now, we wish we, In love, had risked the loss of friendship or the chance of being misunderstood. We lost these people as friends anyway when they decided to leave their families for someone else.

So what can we do? Can we prevent this from happening in the lives of others? Not always. However, we can take precautions to make sure that we have our own spotters in place.

I have a friend whom I will tell immediately if I am having any improper thoughts about another man. Maybe I enjoy the company or attention of a male just a little too much. Or it might be as seemingly innocent as my thinking, “Boy, I wish Todd was handy like so-and-so!” or “Joe Smith is such a good dad. And he never forgets his wife’s birthday.” Comparisons kill contentment. Comparing our spouses to others lets Satan have a foothold. Before too long, he has us in a no-holds-barred choke hold!

This accountability arrangement with my friend works both ways. In one instance, she admitted to me her improper thoughts about a man and her excitement about seeing him in a church committee situation. That was all it took to extinguish the flicker before it grew into a flame. After confessing her thought patterns to me, her feelings for him went away. Often secrecy breeds sin.

Little wrong choices also breed sin. In each of the heartbreaking situations we have witnessed, it was a series of little choices that led to the breakup of the marriage. In one instance, a wife chose to join a gym with a somewhat steamy reputation rather than to workout at a local hospital rehabilitation center that had exercise equipment and a professional atmosphere. Then she made the choice to talk frequently and flirtatiously with some married men at that gym. Next she chose to spend time alone with one man in particular. One time she allowed physical contact to occur. This led to an all out physical affair. Now two marriages are ending in divorce affecting eight innocent children!!! And all it took was a series of five bad choices in a row.

Our life itself is a series of choices and we are its sum. To insure that we make choices that are in keeping with God’s will, we all need a spotter or two. They can help keep our wobble from becoming an all out free fall.

Karen Ehman

www.KarenEhman.com

11 Comments

  • Nancy

    I have been married for almost 14 years, together for 17. My husband is a good Christian man that has always made our church a priority. However, he has a lot of female acquaintances that I don’t know. He is also an acupuncturist that is always willing to help someone. I have told him many times that the texting bothers me, and that if you don’t want to get burned, don’t step close to the fire. He can’t understand why it bothers me because he isn’t doing anything wrong. I so wish he would realize, one, if it bothers me a lot, then he should either involve me or don’t do it, and two, it can sneak up on you especially if our marriage is caught up in the day-to-day stuff. I give him a lot of freedom because I don’t want to look like a nag, but it is starting to eat at me that he doesn’t respect my opinion on this. I pray on this daily. This is a good article to remind me that I need to make sure our friends have similar mind sets. Thank you for all you post.

    • Gale Weithers

      Nancy, I can so totally relate! My handsome could never resist single needy females who eventually turned into single-wanting-to-be-in-a-relationship women. It is good however that you pray and I encourage you not only to pray about the situation but to pray over your husband if you do not already do so. Good luck and best wishes for the future. Hope everything works out. God bless!

    • Inna

      Nancy, I feel your pain. I’m actually in a similar situation, and it is very hard to realize that I actually can do nothing about it. I’m stay at home, and promised to never be a nag. But once I asked myself if it ever happens what would I do? I realize that I actually will forgive and stay, but for the time being I am consciously exercising to turn to prayer and trusting God to preserve my husband and me. Because, ultimately it’s between him and God to run and avoid temptation or give in. I feel that the only thing I can do for my husband, in my situation, is to pray for him, and love him, and definitely not nag ;). God be with you sister and give you peace and strengthen your trust in Him on this matter! ( I also wish the same for myself;).
      The article definitely spoke to my heart, and it’s encouraging to know that there is forgiveness and salvation for me from some of the moments that are not too pleasing.

  • Gale Weithers

    Excellent article especially where you speak to Christian couples and infidelity. The devil embraces all, whether Christian or not, and as a divorce statistic I can attest that if my ex-husband and I had been supported by a few good ‘spotters’ we may have taken another route. In looking back I’ve always felt that married couples lacked not only teaching workshops on marriage but more importantly informal one-on-one time with Christian couples who had ‘made it through’ so to speak; nothing much – maybe a lunch or dinner where conversation and wisdom could be openly shared over a glass of wine or even just a get together for tea. After the prince marries the princess and rides her happily away into the sunset on his white horse, actual marriage can be hard work, moreso today where distractions and temptations abound … a little help from a spotter or two could mean the difference between staying together vs. divorce. Thanks for some great food for thought and God bless!

  • Craig

    Some take aways: “Comparisons kill contentment. Comparing our spouses to others lets Satan have a foothold. Before too long, he has us in a no-holds-barred choke hold!” Often secrecy breeds sin. …Little wrong choices also breed sin.” We all need accountability. “Spotters” are not just those who we have invited into our accountability group, but brothers and sisters in the faith who are looking out for our best interests and our testimony before God. We need to take a more active role in being “our brother’s keeper”, taking into consideration the admonitions such as at Ecclesiastes 4:12, Ezekiel 3:17-21 and Galatians 6:1. Don’t let the world dissuade us from reaching out to one another by their “thou shalt no judge” statements. It is NOT the same thing.

  • Sara

    My husband and I don’t have any spotters. People also tend to think that online issues such as porn or chatting isn’t as bad because it’s not physical or in person. It is physical if the chatters are doing things to themselves while chatting, etc. From what I’ve read on this topic (because it has affected my marriage), the chats and porn can lead to meeting the person/s, which leads to affairs, prostitutes, special massages, etc.

    My husband has viewed porn for years after being introduced to it by his dad at 10 years old. I was gone for the weekend and came home to find out he had been chatting with a girl he had dated in the past and was Facebook friends with. He deleted his Facebook for a year, but has it again. I check on him as much as I can without him knowing–his Facebook, his phone, etc. He likes to stay up late and I have a hard time sleeping when he’s not in the room because I’m wondering what he’s doing. He has promised to not do it again, we’ve had marital counseling, and he’s in a ministerial job again (and our pastor knows about the past before he was hired). It’s been over a year and I haven’t found evidence of anything and have protection on our personal computer. The church’s computers don’t so if he ever did anything on them, he would lose his job more than likely. He fast forwards sexual scenes in movies, etc. since then.

    It is so sad and scary to live in a world where so much is so readily available. The best we can do for our spouse is to pray for him–that God will guard his heart, mind, soul, body, etc–like the full armor of God, so that he will be able to withstand the temptations. We need to pray this for our children and ourselves, too. If it feels wrong, flee–that’s the Holy Spirit telling you to stop…

    Great article. I’m sharing it so it can help others.

  • KD

    Thank you for this thoughtful article. It is wonderful advice to have “spotters” in our lives! I would like to add that there is hope for a solid marriage after an affair. My husband and I are living proof of that. We both desperately wanted our marriage to be restored and did the hard work required to uncover the underlying issues that led to our problems. God has worked a miracle in us, and I just want to encourage anyone who may read this that with God, even this is possible!

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